The gates to the School of the North slowly creaked open. Though the room was dark and her students were silent, neither of these things impeded the Jiang Shi’s senses. She could hear the rustle of their robes and see them all in the dark clear as day. A single student stepped forward and bowed. “Welcome home, master.” With a subtle nod, the Grandmaster returned the courtesy. “I trust you all have been working hard in my absence?” The lead student looked up and nodded. “While you were away master, we worked on several techniques and skills that may prove useful.”

At the dinner hall, Shao took her usual spot at the end of the table. When the clattering of cutlery dulled, she stood and cast aside the curtain that separated her from the students. With all attention on her, she began to speak. “Many of you are wondering if my expedition has born any fruit. Rest assured, the person responsible for my condition has been struck down. But I will remind you all, this was never about vengeance. It was about judgement. Mortivox, the so called “Queen of the Rotting” is dead, but her legacy continues to linger. Her lairs are many and far apart, her creations are now without a master to control them… and I am still here.” The room fell deathly silent at the last line. “My existence is cursed, but my goal remains the same. Should their be a time when my will falters, or I succumb to my… hunger, I leave it in your hands to have me dealt with. But… due to recent circumstances, I have renewed inspiration.”

The students looked around curiously. “Our allies who brought Mortivox out of hiding have introduced me to others that share in our disdain for the undead.” Pulling a parcel from under her table, the Grandmaster held it high, showing the seal of Vigil to everyone in the room. “From this day forward, we are considered allies of the country of Lastwall. I am also allowing any student who wishes to dedicate themselves fully to the cause, a chance to join them in their preparations for… the worst case scenario. In exchange, we now have access to better resources and a much wider net for training. I will also remind everyone now, we are not allied with any political party or system. Your talents and skills are not for the beck and call of those who only seek to better themselves or a party with ulterior motives. I trust you to use your better judgement when out in the world.”

Much later, the Grandmaster meditated in front of her memorial. The names on the wall never blurred in her vision. And when she was certain that she was alone, she spoke to it. “My friends… and family. It is done. Judgment has been passed on the one who brought us together. I only hope my words can bring you some comfort. I cannot restore your lives, but I can try to make them safer for others.” In the silence and darkness, the feint sound of water hitting stone caught her attention. Looking around, she could find none save for the resting body in the pond around the memorial. But in the reflection of the water, she saw it. A single tear still hanging on her cheek. Rubbing it away, the Grandmaster looked at it on her fingertips. Looking up from the pond, she saw all the names again, clearer than ever.

Author Vendon
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Game: Pathfinder
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